We caught up with local pro cyclist Emma Langley and asked her a few questions about her season with Tibco SVB and all things gravel!
Congrats on signing with TIBCO SVB. This year it looks like you've been doing some really tough gravel races, like Unbound and BWR. Prior to this season, had you ever envisioned yourself doing races like these?
I am really thrilled to have the opportunity to race with Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank this year. A combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the changing landscape of American racing has meant that we are targeting a largely gravel-based calendar here in the US this season. While these types of events definitely weren't something I envisioned myself doing even a year ago, the two races that I’ve done so far have been nothing short of epic and awesome!
You seem to be adapting to the gravel racing pretty quickly. We know it's hard to compare the two disciplines, but how does road racing compare and contrast to gravel? Is there anything you've been completely surprised by so far in terms of tactics, effort and training?
Maybe because I am way more out of my comfort zone in these gravel races, I find them much more challenging. I’ve found that gravel races often require an even greater amount of mental focus, not to mention an adaptation to the physical demands of rugged terrain. Because most of these races are mass start - meaning all the men and women start together - they often become more about attrition (and good luck) than they do about executing team tactics. It’s fun and refreshing to get to race a different style in that sense.
We always ask the locals this one. You've ridden and trained in some really amazing places. How does training and riding in VA stack up to other areas you've spent time riding in?
I’ve been fortunate to travel to some amazing places to train and race, yet I always answer truthfully that the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains are my favorite place in the world to ride.
What are some of your favorite training loops out in the Central Virginia region?
What other races are on your calendar for 2021?
I’ve got two more gravel races on tap, with Rooted Vermont on August 1 then SBT GRVL on August 15th. After that I head to Joe Martin Stage Race in Arkansas to close out the month of August!
Thanks for chatting with us, Emma! Good luck with the rest of the season!